The Tampa Bay Rays have signed left fielder / designated hitter Hideki Matsui to a minor league contract, the team officially confirms this morning. This follows a rumor first reported by Jack Curry of YES last week (twitter).
OFFICIAL: Rays have signed Hideki Matsui to a Minor League contract.— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) April 30, 2012
Matsui, the 37 year-old 9th-year veteran joins the Rays after spending last season with the Oakland Athletics, where he hit .251 / .321 / .375 with 12 home runs and 28 doubles in 585 plate appearances.
He spent the first 10 years of his career with the Yomiuri Giants in Japan and then joined the New York Yankees for the 2003-2009 seasons. Matsui is a career .285 / .363 / .467 hitter and has compiled nearly 17 wins above replacement.
Matsui had been preparing for the 2012 season in New York, according to Curry.